Articulate expressions

Shobana at the dance recital in Tirur   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Switching from tinsel world to a relatively elitist sphere of classical dance is no mean task. But for celebrated film actor Shobana, it was a spontaneous transformation. She proved it yet again at a recital at Thunchanparambu, Tirur, as part of its week-long annual festival.

Shobana commenced her recital with a Mallari in Khandajaathi Triputa followed by an Annamacharya Keerthanam in raga Bhauli in praise of Lord Sri Rama. Mallari, in fact, is not part of the traditional repertoire of Bharatanatyam. Nonetheless its presentation as a pure dance item by Shobana carried an unusual luminosity.

She then moved on to a varnam, the piece-de-resistance of the concert, in ragamalika and Roopaka Tala, of the Tanjore Quartet. Shobana herself did the transliteration of the lyrics into Malayalam beginning with ‘Kailasavasa Ninne Njan Kaathirunnu’ (One who resides on Mount Kailasa! I have been awaiting you). The dancer eloquently portrayed the Vibhabva (determinant) and Anubhava (consequent), correlating the mood of the Nayika with happenings in nature. As part of the Vinyasa (improvisation) she essayed the black magic of the rishis to annihilate Lord Siva as their wives were drawn to the Lord irrevocably.

The jathis executed in between the pallavi and the charanams were brimming with lasya, which is something unique in her style. The tandava segment underscoring Siva as the cosmic dancer was equally remarkable.

Soon after the lengthy varnam, Shobana’s disciple did a padam in praise of Goddess Kali. Shobana then returned to the stage with the all too familiar padam of Swati Tirunal, ‘Panimathi Mukhi Baale’ in raga Ahari and in seven beats. It turned out to be a stunning visual treat to the audience as the dancer retained the sokasthai (state of anguish) while navigating the alluring sancharis of the Sringara rasa. For the charanam, ‘Lokavaasikalkellam lobhaniyeenaam Indu/ Sokamenikku matram Sumukhi Tharunnithenthu’ , the dancer presented the jovial disposition of the ladies looking at the full moon while the Nayika alone feels that the moon is hell-bent on tormenting her. The shift in expressions was fluent and entrancing.

‘Madhava Mamava’, the next piece, was again a popular padam of Narayana Theertha in raga Neelambari set to Adi tala. Shobana splendidly portrayed the pranks of child Krishna and for the line, ‘Saadhujanaadhara Saarvabhauma’, she performed the story of the impoverished Kuchela’s visit to Dwaraka as an improvisational piece. Brief yet brimming with visual splendour was her imaginative competence in dealing with the lyrics. The Ashtapadi, ‘Yahi Madhava’, which followed, was a tad too swiftly performed. Still it impressively conveyed Radha’s exasperation towards Krishna. Shobana concluded her recital with a thillana in Sankarabharanam, Adi tala.

The audience did not have a dull moment throughout the recital.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 3:24:59 PM |

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